School of Social Work

Peer Mentors

As a Behavioral Health Program awardee, students of both programs will receive peer mentorship and access to culturally responsive trainings activities. The MSW Behavioral Health Program will prioritize recruiting new students, faculty, and staff who represent historically underserved communities and socio-demographic and linguistic diversity. Below are this year’s 2023-2024 Peer Mentors.

Marcella Paterson, ASW

MarcellaMarcella Paterson received her BSW (distance learning) and MSW in the one-year program at Chico State. She is a Mental Health Clinician at Butte County in an educational setting. Marcella is gathering her clinical hours toward her long-term goal of being an LCSW. Marcella completed her internships with Butte County Probation and Butte County Behavioral Health, where she discovered her passion for mental health. Marcella is originally from the East Bay area, and most of her professional experience has been working alongside youth. She is interested in community mental health services, law, and access to basic needs. Marcella is a former Foster Youth, and her hobbies include attending concerts, watching documentaries, and writing a book (very slowly).

Santos Arevalo-Hernandez, ASW

SantosSantos graduated with his Bachelor's in Psychology in 2018 and his Master's in Social Work in 2022. His journey in direct mental health practice began soon after he graduated with his psychology degree and decided to return to his hometown, Redwood City, California. Santos started work at a non-profit community mental health agency in the Bay Area, working with adults with serious mental illnesses. As a mental health case manager, Santos learned how some communities can struggle to access resources and treatment; this is where he grew his interest in mental health and, most importantly, working with a diverse community. During Santos's master's practicum, he became interested in how a county mental health organization operates, so he decided to intern at the Butte County Department of Behavioral Health (BCDBH) for the foundation and concentration years of his graduate studies. Santos was given the opportunity to learn more about the local different communities like Paradise, Oroville, and Chico. Since then, he has continued to work with BCDBH and is now a Clinician. Santos is working towards obtaining his LCSW within the next few years. His professional goal in the field is to continue working with a community mental health agency to continue to advocate for and support our community. As for his hobbies, Santos enjoys spending time with friends doing activities such as puzzles and video games! These activities have helped him focus on his work-life balance.

Emilee Hunt, ASW, PPS

EmileeEmilee initially graduated from Chico State with a BA in Multicultural and Gender Studies in 2015. During her time at Chico State, she worked at the Gender and Sexuality Equity Center, a space dedicated to activism and supporting underserved students. She then pursued a Master of Arts in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Oregon State University (2017), where her research focused on the experiences of queer and transsexual survivors of sexual assault on university campuses. After returning to Chico and working with survivors of sexual violence, Emilee felt called to return to school and pursue working with youth in more expansive services. Emilee returned to Chico State, and graduated with her MSW in 2022. She now works as a school counselor at a local middle school, where she is able to support students through the highs and lows of life, while re-writing her own experience of the middle school scaries. In addition to this work, Emilee is pursuing her LCSW. She is very excited to be working with the Social Work department in supporting current MSW students, and is passionate about supporting students in building a school, work, and life balance. In her personal time, she enjoys traveling, dabbling in all kinds of crafts, and wrangling her dog and two cats for some necessary relaxation!"

Mitch Harrell, MSW

Mitch- peer mentorMitch graduated from CSU, Chico School of Social Work with this BSW and MSW. He works as a social worker under the HUD-VASH program, housed within United Nursing International in Chico, CA. Mitch has spent several years working with the local Salvation Army and Veteran's sectors. Mitch is dedicated to providing assistance and resources to those struggling with homelessness, mental health issues, substance abuse disorders, disabilities, and illnesses, utilizing a strength-based approach to achieve positive outcomes and goals, and having the ability to work with people from various socioeconomic, cultural, ethnic, educational and diverse backgrounds. His hobbies include triathlons, marathons, running, swimming, and biking.